Focused Initiatives Create Impact in Community  

Crisis Assistance Ministry serves low-income citizens in Mecklenburg County who are struggling to meet life's basic needs. The organization has received a number of grants the Critical Need Response Fund, a Center For Civic Leadership initiative to meet increased demand among human services organizations due to the economic crisis.

The Center for Civic Leadership at Foundation For The Carolinas enjoyed a banner year in 2009, responding to demand from the community in a number of arenas. Among these efforts: driving initiatives to enable our nonprofit sector to become more stable and effective; improving workplace giving campaigns across the corporate sector; mitigating the crisis faced by human-services organizations due to the economic downturn; and working on other issues of importance to our community, such as affordable housing.

The Center was established in 2008 to institutionalize Foundation For The Carolinas’ position as a change agent and problem-solving partner in the Charlotte community. The Center is charged with the task of identifying key community challenges, and engaging Charlotte’s leaders and citizens in the development of solutions for the long-term betterment of the community. Highlights of Civic Leadership activity appear below.

The first Critical Need Response Fund was launched in 2008 to help nonprofits meet the “critical” winter needs of the community, as the onslaught of the economic downturn simultaneously depressed funding, while increasing demand for services. In late 2009, it became clear the need was greater than ever, and area donors asked the Foundation to again lead the effort to fill the gaps.

The Workplace Giving Task Force was created to determine the most productive and effective means of supporting our nonprofit community through workplace giving campaigns. Many factors indicated the need for a focused and candid study to determine the value of such campaigns to the community, and to identify the best practices for improving results. In collaboration with the United Way of the Central Carolinas and Arts & Science Council, Foundation staff convened thought leaders representing 11 organizations with workplace campaigns to consider the issue. The task force will release its report to the public in 2010.

The Community Catalyst Fund was established to inspire and enable innovation, collaborations, partnerships and mergers in support of the successful sustainability of Charlotte’s nonprofits in the wake of a decrease of funding support and investment returns caused by the economic downturn. The group’s achievements to date include a groundbreaking study of our nonprofit sector, several important outreach efforts to educate and engage the community, a nonprofit education initiative for groups within sectors, and more than $749,000 in grants awarded across multiple organizations.

Formally established in 2008, The Center for Civic Leadership continues the Foundation’s work of identifying key community challenges, and engaging Charlotte’s leaders and citizens in developing long-term solutions. A generous group of donors supports the work of the Center, which is carried out by Foundation staff who work with community volunteers to address issues.